Research has shown that there are three phases in Voice Hearing:
- Starting Phase: Named this way because of the Hearer’s discovery of the Voices, which often startles them and cause them to deny the experience and withdraw into themselves. This leads to a sense of isolation, and a fear of madness itself.
- Coping Organisational Phase: After Voice Hearers’ initial surprise of the existence of the Voices, they will gradually start normalising the experience, trying to understand and communicate with them. This is a long process whereby the Hearer must overcome his fright and wish to escape, to ultimately accept the existence of the Voices.
- Stabilisation Phase: Once the existence of the Voices becomes accepted, the Hearers move on to make them part of their everyday life, however, assuming the control of their acts and choices, as opposed to obeying the demands the Voices make.
Involvement in a Hearing Voices Self-help group can help individuals progress through the three stages by creating acceptance, offering mutual support and coping strategies.
The work of the Hearing Voices Network is the cutting edge of enlightened practise. Self-help groups offer another option which can be used in conjunction with existing therapies such as, medication, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, etc.
For more information about Hearing Voices or the different stages, visit the following pages: